Partying with Kids

Have you ever witnessed this in your home or at a get-together elsewhere…

Partying with Kids

  • Kids jumping up and down on the sofa and some with their shoes on too.
  • Kids driving toy cars or playing with Jenga blocks on the glass table top.
  • Kids insisting on playing with delicate show pieces and artefacts and in process breaking or damaging them.
  • Kids balancing their plates stuffed with food and walking all over the house and then spilling food and drinks all over- on themselves, floor, chairs, bed, sofa… thereby creating a mess of the whole place.
  • Kids adamant on taking some of the toys back home with them.

How many times it has happened that after a get-together with kids, the house looks that it has been hit by a hurricane. With toys lying all around and a few at some unreachable places, with food and cold drinks spilt around, something broken or damaged, a home like this can give anybody a few panic attacks.

You sit in a group and a child would not let his mother talk. Somebody would whine incessantly. While yet another one would cry non-stop.

Well, we all have witnessed this and much more, at some or the other time. All children misbehave from time to time. And they like to push their boundaries from time to time too. Somebody very rightly said that the characteristic of a normal child is he doesn’t act that way very often!

This kind of behaviour from kids with other people around, generally disappoints, bewilders, embarrasses, shocks, irritates and annoys us all. Some vow never to have parties with kids at home and many simply dread children coming over to their place.

Misbehaviour by our kids outside our homes is very upsetting for most of us, as we believe ourselves to be perfect parents of perfect children. But incidentally, we are neither perfect parents and nor are our children.

There are many reasons for a child’s misbehaviour, and there are numerous ways in which a parent can divert this unruly behaviour. The reasons have to be discovered and understood and strategies to deal with the same have to be learnt and practiced. A parent is truly responsible for his child’s behaviour. It is certainly a parent’s responsibility to let the child know about what’s acceptable and what’s not.

The process of disciplining a child is a long one and involves a lot of time, efforts, patience and perseverance and this cannot be achieved overnight. However, the results are very rewarding and worth the while.

I believe as a responsible parent, can we be near the children when they are eating, monitoring them or helping them and generally ensuring that they eat well and of course without any mess around.

Breaking or damaging anything and anywhere is a big NO, so the same rule applies at the host’s home too!

And jumping on a sofa with shoes!! Who would approve of that?

Keeping the toys back at their respective places or tidying up the place a bit, will help the child learn a lot too.

Children are like wet clay, you can mould them in any shape. And, also children need love, especially when they do not deserve it.

Some quick pointers…

Discipline

Dont’s Do’s
Give in Set clear boundaries
Bribe inappropriately Listen to your child
Forget to praise and have fun Tune in to how they are feeling

Just think, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent champagne and food over to your place by taxi!!

How has been your experience of partying with kids at home?

Discipline Guidelines Courtesy : The Independent

A former pharmaceutical professional-turned-soft-skills facilitator for corporates and mother of  a 11 year old, Shilpa Garg blogs at http://shilpaagarg.blogspot.in/

 

  • Jack

    Shilpa,

    I agree with you that it is parents responsibility to see that their children do not do something which is harmful or causes damage. We used to and still have separate area for children below certain age to play with all toys etc there and a dedicated maid to be there. Now TV is also of big help. By serving food for that age group early we request their parents to ensure that children eat well. That makes them take care of everything.

    Take care

    • A dedicated person to look after the kids is a big help and yes, parents should be with the kids when they are eating to ensure that they eat well as well as avoid spilling and wasting etc.

  • Totally agree and this is a subject close to my heart. When people comment how well behaved your kids are, they don’t seem to realize the days and years of effort that has gone into it. It is a tough job, I have got enough dirty looks to have killed me several times over when I have dragged my child away who tried to throw tantrums at public places. Now, they know their boundaries, but still try to test it 🙂 But , I can see the hard work paying off, touch wood!

    • Agree completely. Setting examples and letting the kids know about the right and acceptable behavior takes a lot of time and efforts. Am so glad to see a proud and satisfied mother in you, Bindu and yes, touch wood! 🙂

  • A simple trick we use it to feed them before going to a party… The only advantage we drive is they don’t jump to the dining table first thing… on seeing the cake…as the hunger pangs are a little low…

    • Agree, that’s the bestest thing to do, Desi Traveler. A satiated kid is less likely to be cranky! The cake reminds me, that in every birthday party, the inquisitive kids have to be told not to poke their fingers in the cake before it is cut! 😀

  • janu

    I have experienced this two times. I never wanted to host birthday parties at home. Though they are well behaved and disciplined at home, they tend to misbehave at someone else place. They just ignore your rules and boundaries. Both the times, my kids got fed up themselves. Now, they are grown up. No more parties at home. A big relief.

    • At a party, kids when see others enjoying (read – misbehaving) , they join the ‘fun’ too. I certainly stop my kid there and then only and never hesitate to give my piece of mind, I mean advice 😉 to other kids too. Glad that your kids have outgrown this phase, Janaki! 🙂

  • aah – this is something I can relate to. Have had some kids at home who have like you say tornadoed the whole place. Many a times I see the parents accompanying turning a blind eye and rather defending their kids action. Personally, before going to a party/someone else’s home I call my kids and put an assertive list of what is acceptable and what is not. Despite that if they bring the house down with their antics I simply walk out of the party along with them

    • A home looking like it hit by a tornado is such a common sight, after a party with kids, Priya! Once, I saw a child taking chips and crushing them in his hands and then throwing it up in the air, in a room! I was aghast!! 😐
      Yes, there are some parents who simply forget that they have come with their kids.
      Once a child was driving a huge metallic car on a glass table top. The hostess tried to tell the child to drive it down on the carpet/floor. The child didn’t listen to her and the mother didn’t say a word! Its so strange and such a casual approach.
      A mother gave me dirty looks when I refused to let her child handle my SLR camera!
      Reinforcing the Do’s and Don’ts is a must, agree!

  • When the children were young i have hosted parties but fortunately most of the kids were fairly disciplined.just once, it happened like you said, when i had hosted my son’s 7th birthday with 40 children at my place. one of my uncle managed the games. It was a balloon game. the children had to prick the bloated balloons. there was total chaos when the balloons flew here and there and one clay pot crafted by my dot fell and broke in the melee. It was priceless because it was handcrafted by my dot.

    No more parties at home now. like janu , my children are also teens now who don’t like to host party .

    • 40 children in a home can be quite a handful!
      Aah! Ruined or damaged priceless possessions can be pretty heart-breaking!
      A friend hosted a Diwali party and her invite said , “No Kids”!! 😛

  • Lovely post Shilpa… I have umpteen cousins… most of them tiny tots and I’ve seen how difficult it is to manage them!

    • Thanks Kappu! Oh yes, tiny tots are the most difficult to handle! 😛

  • Aashima

    Ok ! So I have experienced almost EVERYTHING you’ve mentioned !!! From my daughter’s toys and artifacts being hijacked to spilled food everywhere !!!
    One thing that I do is, when all the kids are in their designated area I go to them give them a pep talk on THE party rules so that they can have fun and so can we !!! Works most of the times 🙂

    • Agree, clearly stating the party rules, viz what’s allowed and what’s off limits helps set the tone and gives a message to the parents too 😀

  • It can be nightmare with destructive, indiscplined kids. And as you say, I totally agree with you- it is parents’ who are being reflected by such kids. Parents who refuse to say no, parents who refuse to discipline. So much so that we have to sometimes take things in hand. It irks me when parents just look the other way. Firm guidelines always help, and with my own child, I’ve learnt with experience, that sticking with what we say helps. When the child knows that he/she cannot get away with bad behaviour, they are more likely to not try. Of course, on the occasions that they do try to test their boundaries, we, as parents, need to hold firm. I wish I could forward this post of yours to some people I know 🙂

    • Your thoughts on this resonate with mine completely, Smitha! When you lay the ground rules and are consistent with them, the child has no confusion and generally follows the rules. Of course, it is a continuous process and parents have to do this day in and day out to get the desired behavior patterns!
      LOL, hope they get to read our thoughts! 😀

  • Rachna

    I am very happy that I am done with hosting b’day parties. Since kids come unchaperoned, they pretty much do what they like. Discipline is a very important area of parenting, and it must begin when they are young.

    • You are very right, Rachna. Disciplining children is one of the most important yet difficult responsibilities for we parents and of course there are no shortcuts and it has to start early, till it becomes a habit!

  • A wonderful post and you have chose such an important topic. Though I am not a parent myself, I have entertained people with children at my home and have experienced what you have written here where the kids are not disciplined properly and parents have no control of their child’s behaviour.

    I believe good parenting means setting boundaries for children and also setting a good example in front of your child. Children learn by observation as they are like a sponge when they are young.

    • Thanks LP. Absolutely, parents have to set the boundaries. Disciplining your child means to share knowledge… to teach about what’s acceptable and what is not. And it is certainly not punishment and control, which is generally believed.
      Well said, a child is like a sponge… and I have loads of personal examples to prove this!

  • kavita saharia

    Great observation and very helpful tips. And I agree with you here , I have hosted few birthday parties and to my surprise I noticed that kids coming from humble background behave much more better than our kids. I try my best to teach my kids the value of good manners and self discipline.

    • Thanks Kavita! True, good manners and discipline are so very important as these are some of the basics that would help the child fit into the real world happily and effectively!

  • That is a great article and lovely discussion really. I agree with the need to understand where the tantrum throwing is coming from and to be there for the child if she is distressed amidst many people at a party (this is where I am at with my one and a half year toddler) I agree with the need to be firm and respectful about children in which ever situation it may be.

    thanks for the informative read!
    -Aarathi

    • Hi Aarathi. Thanks and glad that you liked the discussion here!
      I read some insightful stuff here… http://aplaceofourown.org/question_detail.php?id=203
      It says, most of us think tantrums are a calculated, deliberate, planned, embarrassing display by our child in order to keep them from enjoying themselves. They’re not! Tantrums are a response to a feeling that children don’t understand. Parents think that children have tantrum because they’re expressing something they’re feeling. The reality is that children are feeling something that they don’t understand, so they’re trying to understand it and it manifests itself as a loss of control. Tantrums come from children not being able to manage and understand how they feel.
      So, that is why it is important for us to understand where the tantrum is coming from and then tackle it accordingly!
      Happy parenting, Aarathi! 🙂

  • Shilpa you have correctly analysed the situation. There are two schools of thoughts.One is to keep the children under tight leash.The other is to adopt laissez faire policy where the children are given a free run irrespective of the consequences.We have to find out a via media solution. While the child behaves properly it should not at the same time spoil his party.

    • You are absolutely right, Ma’am. When disciplining a child, one has to take the middle path, neither too controlling and domineering nor too passive and unstructured!

  • When I was young, we used to go to such parties and I don’t think children misbehaved that much. Even if they had, their parents would have intervened and the kids would generally be sorry. The upbringing was quite strict all around my place and that might have had something to do with this. I don’t have a clue about kids today.

    Destination Infinity

    • That’s exactly the way we were raised too, DI! But times have changed, parenting styles have changed and the kids of today are certainly way too smart and different than our generation! 🙂

      • I agree with that ‘way too smart’ observation. Naughtiness is perhaps a byproduct of smartness! 🙂

        Destination Infinity

        • Naughtiness is something which I love in kids but smartness alone and smartness with misbehavior is something that I do not appreciate in kids! 😛

          • Ritu Dikshit

            I am so glad to read your article Shilpa, finally I know that in today’s world I am not the only “disapproving Aunt”. I have witnessed all kind of children behaviour that you’ve mentioned, as mother of a eight year old daughter. In our family the rule is clear that you can have fun but not at other people’s expense. My daughter knows that if she plays with toys she has to tidy up whether at home or outside. She manages to get her friends to wind up if they come over to play. I strongly believe that the new ” sab chalta hai” attitude in our country is the root cause of all the problems we are facing with our children. Excuse me but for me sab nahin chalta , you have to sit down and explain this to your child. I do and I am proud of it and proud of my child too. I can take her anywhere or send her to a party without any fear of bad conduct. Raise a child, don’t just let them grow.

          • @ Ritu : Am so liking the way you are bringing up your daughter, Ritu. And the credit goes to you! It’s fine with me too that I have got the label of “This aunty is very strict!”, but what needs to told has to be told. Kids are kids and they love all the mischief and fun, but the fun cannot turn to misbehavior and indiscipline. And it is parent’s role to be vigilant and responsible about their child’s behavior!

  • Yes, its an issue of concern and the parents need to note that its their job to raise kids with responsibility. Pampering them with what they want, leads to bad behaviour when going out and they slowly become attention seekers. As you rightly said, children can be moulded into the good behaviour mode from the beginning and I wish the concerned parents take note of it !!!

    • Well said, Uma! Talking of pampering… today the disposable income is very high, so parents wish to give everything to their child which they didn’t had in their childhood. So the child never learns the value of things plus he is spoilt too!

  • rama

    Shilpa, when we were young our parents taught us good manners, how to behave in front of guests and similarly how to behave when we visit other people. Even in our house we would never throw tantrums, throw things around, and never mess up the house.It was not a military kind of strictness, it was just a way of life for all of us.
    We had a very close Punjabi friend, they had two kids and although these kids were very cute, they were also very naughty, not only in their house but everywhere. They were good people, only their perception of bringing up their kids were different.
    Whenever, we saw them approaching our house from far , we would quickly hide all breakable things, important papers from their sight. But one day we didn’t see them coming, and were unprepared, the lady as usual was not at all bothered by anything they did, she was busy chatting with my mother.
    In the meantime the elder one had found our clock on the table and started fiddling with it and finally broke it. After seeing this, his mom, the lady said: ‘Abhi baccha hai, todega, bada hokay Engineer banke jodega’.
    We were so shocked by her reaction.
    It is a different story that after these kids became big they did become engineers, but the clock they broke remains broken.
    I have collected so many things over the years, that I just cannot think of anyone coming and breaking them, so when I know, we would be having a gang of children coming, I just put everything in a big box and keep them somewhere safe, till they leave, and if by chance some one comes without my knowledge, I just tell them sternly to keep their hands off, I don’t bother or wait for the mother to come and control the child. For if something breaks, other than saying sorry , she is not going to do anything, nor can she replace the broken item.
    However, now a days people don’t have time, they are so stressed , with so many things, and when they come tired form work they just kind of let the children do whatever they want to do, and keep pampering them to escape from their own guilt.

    • OMG !! What a careless attitude by that mother…its these mothers who spoil the children totally for the worse and what kind of people they’ll become when they grow up is terrible to imagine !!!

    • That’s such a casual approach, Rama!! There are people who in the name of giving freedom to explore and learn, allow the kids to do anything, anywhere!! There’s a difference between exploration and destruction.
      Well said, higher incomes, stress, less time with kids = give them whatever they want for some peace! 😐

  • This was a flash back for me… those were some (horrible) experiences… I am glad mine are grown up. Good closing lines and advice.

    • Same here, I am glad too that my kid is past this age too! Thanks, Indrani and glad you liked the post!

  • Naughty kids are still manageable but the ones who are brat and spoiled are tough to handle. I have seen my cousins manage their kids well and they also make sure they mind their actions timely but there are many parents who just let it go. They let their kids do just anything and only have a smile on their faces. Being liberal is good but only to the extent that it does not get overboard.
    Nice do and don’ts!

    • Well said. Spoilt brats can be quite a handful. These are the kids who needs constant care and loads of work from the parents side. Reinforcing the rules and being consistent with them always works! Thanks Manjulika! 🙂

  • i am just facing the prob.. my little one has learnt this art of crying and getting things done. now i am taking all efforts of correcting her. dont know how long its going to take, but yet want mine to be well behaved.. 🙂

    • I can understand your situation! It’s tough but have faith, with consistent and persistent efforts, you will be successful in diverting her behavior! All the very best and happy parenting A! 🙂

  • So true! Identifying early is almost curable for anything… so was teaching children the discipline at their early stage maker certain behavior.
    I too have witnessed such behaviors of kids and jumping on the sofa and braking things are the most happen during most occasions.

    • Absolutely Jeevan. Letting your child know the right and the acceptable behavior from the very beginning is THE way to go about bringing your child. Correcting after a lot of damage has been done is a herculean task for both the parents as well as the child!

  • I think parents need to take more responsibility, I really hate when people visit someone’s house and let their kids run a riot ..

    and worst is when asked they take exception to being told about their kids ..

    In my work experience I have seen some kids grow from children to boys and some boys ot big boys .. and Most of hte time the ones whose parents have not bothrered teaching them right from wrong .. end up on the wrong side of the law tooo

    Bikram’s

    • Very true. The onus of teaching the good and the acceptable behavior to the kids lies with the parents. And this has to be taught from the very beginning. And glad to know that your work experience proves that too! Thanks for sharing your views, Bikram.

  • Kids usually know when they are pushing their boundaries and it is up to the parents to instill into them the sense of what is acceptable and what is not! It amazes me sometimes how much some parents just let their kids get away with!

    • Agree, Roshni. Such casual approach of parents towards indiscipline and misbehavior of kids surprises me! 😐